2008-02-28

What are superdelegates really?

Yesterday, I brought your attention to a humorous video lampooning the role and effects of superdelegates in the Democratic party ("A Day in the Life of a Superdelegate").

After watching the video, a friend - who has not been actively watching the 2008 Democratic primaries - asked me a question: "Well, that doesn't make any sense? So, what are superdelegates anyway?"

As if, hearing his question from afar, HowStuffWorks published a comprehensive explanation of who/what superdelegates are and why the Democratic party thinks they should exist. Here's the link to the article: http://people.howstuffworks.com/superdelegate.htm

The concept of a superdelegate - to me - seems very aristocratic and has the potentially cause citizen members of the Democratic party to lose faith in the party. Mainly, because it keeps the power of government in the hands of the elite, a kind of "those who have power, keep power" situation. In addition to the issue of allowing an aristocracy to fester within our political system, there is a greater issue of how candidates are allowed to court¹ superdelegates:
Some political observers are concerned over the rules covering the courting of superdelegates. There is little if any protocol that says delegates can't be given outright gifts or even money. By the time the 2008 primary season began, some already had received money in the form of campaign contributions [source: Boston Globe]. "A candidate can feel free to entice a superdelegate with allusion to past and future favors," added one reporter [source: NPR].

This is the kind of corruption which has crippled the citizen voice in our government for decades. Let's hope that there whoever wins the popular election will also win the candidate selection, I'd hate to have to watch a repeat of the events which took place in Florida in the 2000 election.

¹ I use the word "court" in order to point out the connotation of "special or devoted attention in order to win favor, affection, etc.: to pay court to the king" [Dictionary.com]
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